Cyrus Resurrection Chapter 1
A novelization of Cyrus's life.
A boy lay in his soft hay bed. His sleep was disturbed by a gentle, but firm grip on his shoulder. As the boy peered through tired eyes, he saw the face of his father, hovering over him.
“Son, get up quickly,” his father said in fear, indifferent to the fact that it was three hours past midnight. “Hurry! We must leave at once.” “What’s going on?” The boy asked, wiping the sleep from his eyes.
“Don’t ask questions! We must leave at once. Now hurry and gather your belongings.” The boy’s father sounded panicked. The boy couldn’t remember ever seeing his father this distressed. He rose quickly from his bed eyeing everything around him, but could see nothing. The blackness of the night crept over their small village house like a giant, thick blanket. Then suddenly everything lit up. There were fires outside his window coming closer and closer by the second. “No time, son! We must leave now. Come on!” The father snatched him up quickly and cradled him in his arms as they ran out of the boy’s small bedroom, down the stairs, and out the village house.
The boy peered over his father’s shoulder to see that the fires were not the raging flames from a forest fire. Neither was it from a bonfire that frequented the village center during a festival. The fires were coming from torches that were being carried by… When his eyes found the torchbearers, his heart jumped into his throat.
He saw hordes of strange creatures pouring out of landing boats. The landing boats were launched from several large sailing ships anchored in the harbor to the east. The torches formed streams of lights that reminded the boy of ants bringing food back to their colony. He recognized the outer garments of those torchbearers at the head of the advance. Nobody else wore clothing like this. They were known as Mystics in the kingdom of Guardia. The boy furrowed his brow because, although he was young, he knew that Guardia were at peace with the Mystics.
Not any more.
He never had time to think of why the Mystics would be attacking humans. They swarmed over the village wreaking havoc and bringing chaos to all who weren’t quick enough to escape. The boy watched through tear-blurred eyes and the jolts from his father’s long, quick strides impacting the hard, cold earth. The Mystics showed no mercy as they went through the village killing anyone they found, and setting fire to the houses. Some, the Mystics barred shut, sealing the residents inside before they were set ablaze.
The screams of the villagers deafened the boy’s ears. He buried his face into his father’s chest trying to avoid the heat of all the fires.
From the west came scores of Guardia Knights. Men armed with swords, spears, and javelins, passed by galloping cavalry, quickly headed to the now burning villages. Outnumbered, the Knights fought valiantly trying to repel the invaders and extinguish the fires. Knights were falling rapidly to the vicious onslaught of the apparently unstoppable Mystics.
A snake-like form glistened ahead of them as the river materialized from out of the darkness. Over the river spanned Zenan Bridge, and beyond, safety. For the first time, the father felt a bit of relief, but that relief passed as quick as it had come. The bridge faded into a blur and then, darkness. The boy felt his father’s legs give out from underneath him, and they both tumbled hard to the ground. Stars appeared in the boy’s eyes as he tried to get up. Ignoring the pain that shot up his limbs and chest, he limped towards where his father fell a few feet behind him. The boy thought that his father would have gotten up before him and that they would be running already. He now saw why.
His father had two arrows lodged in his back just below his neck. Blood dripped from the holes and ran out onto the earth. Overwhelmed by the sight of his dying father, the boy clutched his father’s head, trying to keep back the tears that flooded his vision. The noise of the nearby battle deafened his father’s gaps as he choked on his own blood.
He managed to get one last word out: “Run!” His gaze went distant and his head fell into his son’s arms. Choking back tears, the boy clutched his father’s limp body for a moment. A scream from behind jolted him out of his sorrow. The boy lifted his head to see a Mystic charging towards him with an axe raised above its head.
Driven anew by fear, the boy ran as fast as he could to the bridge that lay just a few yards ahead him. Pained from the fall and his father’s death, the boy’s legs gave out just short of the bridge, and he collapsed to the ground, crying uncontrollably. The Mystic bearing down on him meant nothing to him anymore. The boy would have died there. A nearby Knight saw the sobbing boy with his face in the dirt. He also saw the Mystic who was almost upon the boy, poised to put the boy out of his misery. With a quick movement that showed years of training and experience inherent to the Guardia Knights, he flung his small shield like a boomerang at the Mystic. Just as the Mystic was ready to deliver the fatal strike, the shield caught the Mystic square in the chest and send it wheeling. This gave the Knight time to close the distance between him and the Mystic. Before the Mystic could recover, the Knight lashed out with his long sword. The swipe was clean and cleaved right into the Mystic’s throat. Green blood gushed out from the gash staining the boy’s trembling face. In all the chaos of the past few moments, neither the boy nor the Knight had a chance to look their attacker in the face.
It was a Hench.
The Knight then realized how fortunate they both were. Henches were the strongest caste of the Mystics. They had large, muscular bodies covered by fine, grey hairs. Their skin was thick like tree bark, and they wielded heavy, deadly weapons. While slow, they are nearly unbeatable in close combat. If the Knight hadn’t caught the Hench off guard, both humans would be dead by now. There wasn’t anytime to relish their fortune, for three more Mystics, who saw the battle, were charging at the Knight. These were not Henches. They were Imps.
Unlike their larger cousins, Imps have short, stocky figures with large heads capped off by long, pointy ears. Their lightly-built bodies had almost no hair, but their skin had multiple pigments such as lime green and burgundy.
They were armed with small daggers about the length of a grown man’s forearm. They wore light armor consisting of padded leather. Their lightness and agility allowed for them to dart quickly about, reeking havoc on any enemy who was not as quick. But, the Knight didn’t have to be, for these Imps were too enraged to realize that the Knight had a sword twice as long as theirs. That was all the advantage he needed.
The first of the Imps charged forward screaming and waving his dagger wildly. The Knights calmly took one step to the side and met the Imp with the sharp tip of his sword before the Imp ever had a chance to strike. As quickly as it was in, the sword was out and swinging toward the second Imp, who had been just an arm’s length from his now dead comrade. The extensive length of his long sword easily reached out to carve the Imp cleanly from shoulder to groin. The Knight used the backswing from the carving slice to throw his elbow into the pointy chin of the last Imp. Stunned slightly, the Imp took a couple of steps back, now wary of the Knight’s sword length and his prowess in wielding it.
The Imp never had a chance to consider an alternate attack or to retreat, for a metal object now protruded from the Imp’s torso. A spear from a galloping rider had lodged itself into the exposed backside of the Imp. The Imp gasped once, and then fell. The Knight flipped a quick salute of acknowledgement to the riding Knight as he galloped on into the thick of the invaders. Turning back to the boy, the Knight sheathed his sword, and scooped up the trembling boy and walked briskly over to the bridge. A contention of the Knights had gathered there to protect it should any Mystics try to make their way across the river. Reinforcements were coming over the bridge frequently now.
The boy was still sobbing as the Knight carried him. His tears streamed down the Knights armor, glistening over the polished steel. They reached the bridge, and the Knight lowered him to the ground, and for the first time, spoke.
“Head to the castle. You’ll be safe there.” “No!” The boy shrieked. “I want somebody to come with me. I don’t want to be alone.”
The Knight laid an armored hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“In order to become strong you must let go of your fears. Do not cry about his death. You must let go and be fearless. Overcome what has just happened and be strong.” The Knight motioned over the boy’s shoulder. “Head to the castle, I will meet you there shortly.”
The boy’s crying now calmed to a quiet whimper. The Knight was calming in a way that the boy did not understand. The boy shook his head and started to walk down the bridge still sobbing. As he walked up the hill towards the castle in the distance, the images of that night flashed through his mind like lightning streaking across the sky. Through it all, he never forgot the words of the Knight who saved his life.
“Boy? Boy! Hey, wake up boy!” The soft words of a little girl awakened him from his deep sleep. “Ugh.” The boy groaned. “Where am I?” He asked still dazed from the night before. “At Guardia castle,” the little girl explained rather matter-of-factly. “My Mommy found you lying outside the castle in the forest and brought you in.”
Images of the previous night’s events started materializing in the boy’s mind again. Darkness. The roar of battle in the valley below. Trees. The taste of blood and salt in his mouth. “You were a mess, my Mommy said.” The boy now realized that he was lying in a bed and that she was sitting on the bed beside his, looking at him with wide eyes. He didn’t recognize her, but there were too many things going through his mind for him to care about her, right now. “She said that she saw lots and lots of blood on you. But, it’s okay now because you’re safe in the Castle.”
The boy rubbed his aching eyes, as she continued. “Sometimes, when I’m really sad or scared, I walk over here, and I feel better. I feel really safe, especially when Daddy comes home from the Inn. He gets too drunk and is really mean to me and Mommy.” The little girl said as she got up and huddled over the little boy’s cot.
She was wearing a white dress, had dark brown hair in pigtails, and had a nice smile that made the boy smile too, but it faded quickly as he started to remember things from the night before. “What’s you name?” She asked in a bit of silly way that made the boy smile again.
“Cyrus.” The boy answered wiping the smile from his face. “My name is Lizy, “the girl volunteered. “But, my parents and friends call me Liz.”
Cyrus smiled at her, but his eyes started to tear up, and he began to cry again.
“What’s wrong?” She asked Realizing what Cyrus must be upset about, she tried to comfort him with her own story. “My father, he, he…” She tried to get it out in as calm a voice as possible. “…he died in the raid last night.”
Cyrus wrapped his arms around his knees and buried his face in between his knees, sobbing out of control.
“You’re crying again? What good is boy who cries?” A faint yet familiar voice drew Cyrus’ head up to look and see who had just spoken.
Cyrus looked up and over and saw the face of the man that had saved him the night before: the Knight. He was lying in a cot next to his and was wrapped in many bandages with red stains soaked all throughout them.
Cyrus sat up slowly, his body aching all over. He winced at the pain, but grit his teeth, and stood up slowly. He made his way over to the man, but stopped as he figured out that the stains of red were blood.
“What happened?” Cyrus asked while creeping a little closer to him. “Nothing happened. And, I sure as hell am not going to cry about it,” the Knight said, shrugging at the pain he was in. “War and battles always have casualties. Let’s just leave it at that.”My name is Tocka. I heard you talking to this girl, and I heard your name. Cyrus, isn’t it?” Cyrus ignored the question and jumped back to the other conversation they never finished. “Are you going to be alright?” Cyrus asked as he instinctively grasped the Knight’s hand in his own. “I’ll live. And, I’m proud to have it like that.” Cyrus dreaded the thought of losing the only person who was still alive that cared for him, although he couldn’t be sure if that’s what the Knight really meant. Before Cyrus could relish the feeling of relief that washed over him, his thought was interrupted. “What’s going on? Why did the Mystics attack us?” Liz asked the Knight while strolling up beside Cyrus. “The Mystics are no longer at peace with us. They are now our enemies, and will be this way for a very long time, I think.” The Knight replied. Cyrus could hear the pain of the Knight’s wounds in his voice. “But why would they betray us? We didn’t do anything, did we?” Liz asked in confusion. “Do you remember the war against Truce and Porre?” Tocka asked. “No. Why? What happened?” Liz asked in frustration, not knowing anything about her kingdom’s history. “The Porre were making strong weapons that no one thought were necessary at the time because we were at peace with everybody,” the Knight related. “The Truce didn’t like the idea of the Porre having all these weapons. They wanted Porre to stop making them, and to give them to Guardia Castle. The Truce felt they would be safer there. The Porre responded by saying that they would not give up their weapons and would continue to make more. The Truce, in turn, started to arm themselves with anything possible to force the Porre from making more of these disastrous weapons.”
Cyrus and Liz sat back down on Cyrus’ cot to listen to Tocka’s story. “Then, a Civil War broke out between Truce and Porre. Eventually, Guardia got involved, and their forces stopped many of the battles before they started, while helping Truce win strategic battles. Porre eventually lost the war and were taken over by Truce. They spent ten years trying to find out what compelled the Porre to start a military buildup of this magnitude. Nothing ever came of it, so they ended the investigation and gave Porre residents back their homes and land. Truce left and headed back north to their land. A few weeks ago, Guardia reopened that investigation and figured it out. An evil wizard, who lives east of here, made a deal with the Porre to make these weapons so that he could take control of Guardia and the other Kingdoms. The Porre’s reward was enormous amounts of money from the wizard. Unfortunately, the Mystics wanted a share of this deal also, which is why all the Mystics suddenly disappeared. Once we figured out that this wizard was responsible, we moved forces over to his castle.”
Tocka paused here, his face racked with regret. “We had no idea what was waiting for our soldiers. He destroyed them all in an ambush under the guise of friendship. Not one man returned from that slaughter.”
Cyrus scratched his head, thoroughly confused. He knew nothing about what Tocka spoke of. Little did Cyrus know how crucial a role in this new war he would have in the months and years ahead.
Eventually Tocka healed after much time and began to take care of Cyrus. He housed him, feed him, and loved him. Sometimes Cyrus would even call him dad.
Cyrus and Liz’s friendship began to grow much more as time went by. They would play everyday and even took a swordship class. They wanted to become fighters, or even Knights. Cyrus wanted to become like his dad, (Ahem, Tocka) and Liz wanted to get payback on her abusive father. Cyrus aged through his childhood ages and began to take toll on his rough teenage years.
The war also continued on. Many battles took place and still do. Tocka always leads Guardia Forces and always survives. This was a go.